Assembly Biosciences reports chronic hepatitis data, shares jump

Assembly Biosciences announces presentation of ABI-H0731, ABI-H2158 data

Assembly Biosciences (ASMB) announced that data on its lead HBV core inhibitor candidates, ABI-H0731 and ABI-H2158 for the treatment of chronic HBV will be featured in a late-breaking poster session during the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases Annual Meeting.

Shares jump on hepatitis data, Stockwinners

A hepatitis B infection can result in either an acute infection or a chronic infection. When a person is first infected with the hepatitis B virus, it is called an “acute infection” (or a new infection). Most healthy adults that are infected do not have any symptoms and are able to get rid of the virus without any problems. Some adults are unable to get rid of the virus after six months and they are diagnosed as having a “chronic infection.”

Title: Continued Therapy with ABI-H0731+Nrtl Results in Sequential Reduction/Loss of HBV DNA, HBV RNA, HBeAg, HBcrAg and HBsAg in HBeAg-Positive Patients.

Abstract Summary: Final results from Phase 2a are reported for HBeAg+ patients with chronic HBV infection treated with 731+Nrtl for 24 weeks.

In Study 202, greater mean log10 declines in HBV DNA and RNA were achieved with 731+Nrtl versus entecavir alone.

In Study 201, the proportion of patients on 731+Nrtl versus Nrtl alone achieving DNA target not detected was 69% vs 0%, and the proportion of patients achieving RNA less than35 U/mL whose RNA was greater than or equal to35 U/mL at baseline was 52% vs 0% respectively.

In Study 211, there are 64 HBeAg+ patients currently on extended treatment beyond 24 weeks. Among the 27 HBeAg+ patients receiving 731+Nrtl in Study 201, 41% have now achieved DNA TND along with RNA less than35 U/mL and HBeAg less than1 IU/mL.

At their last time point, Study 202 patients now in Study 211 have demonstrated mean DNA and RNA declines of 6.1 and 3.0 logs, respectively, with observed mean log changes of greater than or equal to 0.6 for HBeAg, greater than 0.8 log for HBcrAg and greater than or equal to 0.4 log for HBsAg.

731 continues to exhibit a favorable safety and tolerability profile in patients treated for up to 1 year, with only mild/moderate adverse events and lab abnormalities, and only a single discontinuation due to a Grade 1 rash.

The combination of 731+NrtI results in faster and deeper declines in HBV DNA and RNA than NrtI alone, as well as subsequent declines in the surrogate markers of cccDNA predictive of cccDNA pool depletion, and HBsAg.

A Visual Guide to Hepatitis, Stockwinners

The emergent data supports the continued development of 731.

Abstract data are as of the time of submission; the poster is expected to include updated safety and efficacy results. Title: The Second-Generation Hepatitis B Virus Core Inhibitor ABI-H2158 is Associated with Potent Antiviral Activity in a 14-Day Monotherapy Study in HBeAg-positive Patients with Chronic Hepatitis B.

Abstract Summary: The Phase 1b study is enrolling sequential cohorts of 9 patients and each cohort will be randomized to receive 2158 or placebo QD for 14 days in a blinded manner.

Dosing in the 1st cohort has been completed. In patients receiving 2158, mean declines from Baseline to Day 15 in HBV DNA and RNA levels were 2.3 log10 and 2.1 log10 IU/mL respectively.

No serious AEs, dose limiting toxicities or premature discontinuations were reported.

Three patients reported a total of 5 mild, drug-related AEs that recovered without intervention; dizziness, fatigue, rash, headache and upper abdominal pain.

Treatment emergent laboratory abnormalities were infrequent, mild and transient, with no ALT elevations Grade greater than or equal to 1 in severity.

Day 14 plasma 2158 Cmax and AUC0-24hr were 3,390 ng/mL and 46,100 hr*ng/mL, respectively.

Results from the initial 100 mg low dose of ABI-H2158 cohort demonstrated potent antiviral activity, a favourable safety profile when administered for 14 days, and support once daily dosing in CHB patients.

SmileDirectClub shares tumble on new California law

SmileDirectClub says nothing in AB1519 requires ceasing or modify operations

SmileDirectClub (SDC) issued a statement on California Assembly Bill 1519, stating in part:

“We are pleased with the Governor’s signing statement for AB1519.

New California law sends shares lower, Stockwinners

While the authorizing nature of AB1519 made it difficult to veto the bill, the Governor clearly indicated that he expects all stakeholders to come to together to find a better way to create policy around teledentistry.

While this bill does not preclude SmileDirectClub’s continued operations in California, it will create unnecessary hurdles and costs to Californians that need care but struggle to afford it. The undebated, clinically unsupported, and ill-advised policy changes that are included in this bill – a bill that was intended to reauthorize the Dental Board of California until last-minute policy additions were added – have created arbitrary barriers to technological innovation…Simply put, this bill represents the dental lobby’s thinly-veiled attempt to protect traditional dentistry at the expense of Californians, and Governor Newsom made the correct choice in issuing his strongly-worded rebuke of the tactics and policy that this bill represents.

California law may require a dentist at every SDC shop, Stockwinners

Nothing in AB1519 requires SmileDirectClub to cease or modify its operations, and nothing regarding teledentistry in this legislation can take effect until the Board has given all stakeholders the opportunity to submit public comment and debate the merits of any proposed rules with clinically-based data – as the Governor has requested in his signing statement. To that effect, SmileDirectClub will be reaching out to our partners in the field to coordinate efforts so that a positive outcome for the industry – and for the California consumers – can be reached…To be clear, SmileDirectClub will continue to legally operate in California, we will be an active participant in the administration-directed public debates surrounding teledentistry, and we will continue to provide affordable orthodontic care to thousands of smiling Californians.

Moving forward, SmileDirectClub welcomes transparent policy debates that include all stakeholders.”

Heavy lobbying by both sides made AB-1519 national news, Stockwinners

UBS Comments

UBS analyst Kevin Caliendo noted that California Governor Gavin Newsom signed bill AB-1519 over the weekend and the law is expected to go into effect on January 1, 2020.

He thinks that SmileDirectClub may need to place dentists inside its shops due to the new law, though it is less clear if the bill will mean that patients will need to get x-rays as well as iTero scans, which may eventually be determined in court.

The analyst, who noted that SmileDirect is scheduled to report Q3 results on November 12, noted that he has received questions on if the company might pre-announce, but he has “no insight or precedent into whether the company will opt to do that or not.” Caliendo has a Buy rating and $24 price target on SmileDirectClub shares.

SDC shares are down 9% to $10.12 in Monday’s trading.

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Watch Shares of Adverum Biotechnologies!

Adverum Biotechnologies reports additional data from Phase 1 trial of ADVM-022

Adverum Biotechnologies (ADVM) announced additional clinical data for the first cohort of patients in the ongoing OPTIC phase 1 clinical trial of ADVM-022, the company’s intravitreal injection gene therapy, in treatment-experienced patients with wet age-related macular degeneration.

Adverum Biotechnologies reports additional data from Phase 1 trial of ADVM-022 in patients with wet age-related macular degeneration, Stockwinners

Adverum also announced enrollment plans for the third and fourth cohorts in the ongoing OPTIC trial.

The third cohort has been initiated and patients will be treated with ADVM-022 at a dose of 2 x 10^11 vg/eye, the same dose used in the second cohort.

Subsequently, patients in the fourth cohort will be treated with ADVM-022 at a dose of 6×10^11 vg/eye, the same dose used in the first cohort.

Since inflammation has generally been mild and responsive to steroid eye drops, patients in the third and fourth cohorts will receive prophylactic steroid eye drops instead of prophylactic oral steroids.

Previously, on September 12, 2019, Adverum presented data from the first cohort in the ongoing OPTIC trial at a pre-specified 24-week time point.

Wet and Dry Macular Degeneration, Stockwinners

The additional data for this cohort includes key outcomes with a median follow-up of 34 weeks.

In treatment-experienced patients previously requiring frequent anti-VEGF injections to maintain vision, the data continue to demonstrate that the single ADVM-022 injection in this cohort was sufficient to maintain vision, with zero rescue injections required for any of the six patients.

Aaron Osborne, MBBS, chief medical officer of Adverum, added, “The clinical profile of ADVM-022 demonstrates this gene therapy’s potential to be a significant advance for patients with wet AMD. It is very encouraging that there continues to be zero rescue injections in this cohort of treatment-experienced patients with more than 6 months follow-up on all patients. We are expanding the development of ADVM-022 and are excited to share that enrollment is now open for the third cohort in OPTIC.

We look forward to being able to deliver this novel intravitreal gene therapy candidate as soon as possible to patients with wet AMD and diabetic retinopathy, our second indication for ADVM-022. We are grateful for all of the investigators, patients, and caregivers who continue to participate in the OPTIC trial.”

Adverum plans to begin dosing patients in the third cohort of the OPTIC trial in the fourth quarter of 2019 and plans to begin enrollment in the fourth cohort in the first quarter of 2020.

Adverum plans to present 52-week data from the first cohort of patients in the OPTIC trial as well as 24-week data from the second cohort of patients in the first half of 2020.

Adverum plans to submit an investigational new drug application for the treatment of ADVM-022 in diabetic retinopathy in the first half of 2020.

Piper Jaffray

Commenting on Adverum Biotechnologies update at AAO, Piper Jaffray analyst Tyler Van Buren notes that zero rescue injections have been required and disease activity by OCT and visual acuity has been maintained with 6 ADVM-022 patients now out to a median of 34 weeks.

Importantly, despite the intense criticism over inflammation and visual acuity fluctuations during the initial data disclosure last month, numerous KOLs at the conference were unconcerned and believe that ADVM-022 looks like a potential treatment option so far, he contends.

Overall, the analyst argues that safety continues to be clean in these initial patients and looks forward to the 52-week update in first half of 2020.

Van Buren reiterates an Overweight rating and $14 price target on the shares as ADVM-022 continues to look like a viable gene therapy candidate for wet AMD, which has $1B-plus potential.

ADVM closed at $5.29.

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Sarepta reports positive results for muscular dystrophy Type 2E treatment

Sarepta announces results from gene therapy trial for beta sarcoglycanopathy

Sarepta Therapeutics (SPRT) announced the nine-month functional results from three Limb-girdle muscular dystrophy Type 2E ,LGMD2E, clinical trial participants who received SRP-9003. SRP-9003 is an investigational gene therapy intended to transduce skeletal and cardiac muscle with a gene that codes for the full-length, native beta-sarcoglycan protein, the lack of which is the sole cause of LGMD2E.

Sarepta drops after U.K. trial halt,
Sarepta rises on muscular dystrophy data, Stockwinners

In Cohort 1 of the SRP-9003 study, three participants ages 4-13 were treated with an infusion of SRP-9003 at a dose of 5x1013vg/kg.

Improvements in functional outcomes were observed at day 270 for all three participants.

“We have now observed consistent functional improvements, in addition to high levels of expression of the missing protein of interest and strong results in related biomarkers, in both of our first cohorts for Duchenne muscular dystrophy and LGMD2E. We intend to test one higher dose of SRP-9003 in LGMD2E participants, select our clinical dose and then advance our SRP-9003 program, along with our other five LGMD programs, as rapidly as possible,” said Doug Ingram, Sarepta’s president and chief executive officer.

“With the results of our first LGMD2E cohort, Sarepta continues to build its gene therapy engine, an enduring model created to design, develop and bring to the medical and patient community transformative therapies for those living with, and too often dying from, rare genetic disease.”

No new safety signals were observed and the safety profile seen to date supports the ability to dose escalate in the next cohort of the study. As previously disclosed, two participants in the study had elevated liver enzymes, one of which was designated a serious adverse event (SAE), as the participant had associated transient increase in bilirubin. Both events occurred when the participants were tapered off oral steroids and, in both instances, elevated liver enzymes returned to baseline and symptoms resolved following supplemental steroid treatment.

SPRT is up $5.52 to $86.86.

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Aptiv, Hyundai Motor to form autonomous driving joint venture

Aptiv, Hyundai Motor to form autonomous driving JV

Aptiv (APTV) and Hyundai Motor Group (HYMTF) announced that they will be forming an autonomous driving joint venture.

This partnership brings together one of the industry’s most innovative vehicle technology providers and one of the world’s largest vehicle manufacturers.

Aptiva scores a victory by forming JV with Hyundai, Stockwinners

The joint venture will advance the design, development and commercialization of SAE Level 4 and 5 autonomous technologies, furthering the partners’ leadership position in the global autonomous driving ecosystem.

The joint venture will begin testing fully driverless systems in 2020 and have a production-ready autonomous driving platform available for robotaxi providers, fleet operators, and automotive manufacturers in 2022.

As part of the agreement, Hyundai Motor Group and Aptiv will each have a 50 percent ownership stake in the joint venture, valued at a total of $4B.

Hyundai forms autonomous driving joint venture, Stockwinners

Aptiv will contribute its autonomous driving technology, intellectual property, and approximately 700 employees focused on the development of scalable autonomous driving solutions.

Hyundai Motor Group affiliates – Hyundai Motor, Kia Motors and Hyundai Mobis – will collectively contribute $1.6B in cash at closing and $0.4B in vehicle engineering services, R&D resources, and access to intellectual property.

The partnership reinforces the companies’ shared vision of making mobility more safe, green, connected, and accessible by advancing the development and commercialization of the highest-performing and safest autonomous vehicles.

Shares of Aptiva are up 1.6% to $88.50.

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Celgene sells its Otezla to Amgen for $13.4 billion

Amgen to acquire Otezla from Celgene for $13.4B in cash

Amgen (AMGN) announced that it has entered into an agreement with Celgene (CELG) in connection with its previously announced merger with Bristol-Myers (BMY) to acquire worldwide rights to Otezla, “the only oral, non-biologic treatment for psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis,” and certain related assets and liabilities, for $13.4B in cash, or approximately $11.2B, net of the present value of $2.2B in anticipated future cash tax benefits.

Bristol Meyers Comments on Celgene purchase, Stockwinners
Celgene sells Otezla to pave the way for its merger with Bristol-Meyers, Stockwinners

Otezla (apremilast) is a prescription medicine approved for the treatment of patients with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis for whom phototherapy or systemic therapy is appropriate. Otezla is a prescription medicine approved for the treatment of adult patients with active psoriatic arthritis. Otezla is a prescription medicine approved for the treatment of adult patients with oral ulcers associated with Behçet’s Disease.

Amgen goes shopping, Stockwinners

Amgen believes that the acquisition of Otezla offers many benefits including: A strong strategic fit with Amgen’s long-standing expertise in psoriasis and inflammation; A differentiated, oral therapy complementary to Amgen’s existing inflammation franchise of innovative biologics and biosimilar products; At least low double-digit Otezla sales growth, on average, over the next five years; Acceleration of Amgen’s near- and long-term revenue growth; Immediate non-GAAP EPS accretion; Intellectual Property exclusivity through at least 2028 in the U.S.; Worldwide rights which fit well with Amgen’s international presence and global expansion objectives; Support of increased R&D investment in 2020 to advance Amgen’s innovative pipeline of first-in-class molecules; No interruption in deployment of Amgen’s capital allocation priorities. Sales of Otezla in 2018 were $1.6B driven by strong volume growth.

Bristol-Myers treatment for colorectal cancer approved, Stockwinners
Bristol-Myers is in the process of buying Celgene, Stockwinners

The closing of the acquisition is contingent on Bristol-Myers entering into a consent decree with the Federal Trade Commission in connection with the pending Celgene merger, the closing of the pending merger with Celgene and the satisfaction of other customary closing conditions.

The transaction is expected to close by the end of 2019.

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CBS and Viacom to merge

CBS, Viacom to combine in all-stock merger to create ViacomCBS

CBS Corp. (CBS) and Viacom (VIA, VIAB) announced they have entered into a definitive agreement to combine in an all-stock merger, creating a combined company with more than $28B in revenue.

The combined company, ViacomCBS, “will be a leading global, multiplatform, premium content company, with the assets, capabilities and scale to be one of the most important content producers and providers in the world,” the companies stated.

Viacom, an acronym of Video & Audio Communications to merge with CBS, Stockwinners

Bob Bakish, President and CEO, Viacom, will become President and Chief Executive Officer of the combined company.

Joe Ianniello, President and Acting CEO, CBS, will become Chairman and CEO of CBS and will oversee all CBS-branded assets in his new role.

CBS to merge with Viacom to compete with Disney, Netflix, Stockwinners

The merger agreement was approved by the boards of directors of both CBS and Viacom by unanimous vote of those present, upon the unanimous recommendations of the Special Committees of the CBS and Viacom Boards of Directors, respectively.

Existing CBS shareholders will own approximately 61% of the combined company and existing Viacom shareholders will own approximately 39% of the combined company on a fully diluted basis.

Under the terms of the merger agreement, each Viacom Class A voting share and Viacom Class B non-voting share will convert into 0.59625 of a Class A voting share and Class B non-voting share of CBS, respectively.

NAI, which holds approximately 78.9% and 79.8% of the Class A voting shares of CBS and Viacom, respectively, has agreed to deliver consents sufficient to assure approval of the transaction.

More than two-thirds of the CBS directors unaffiliated with NAI, and all of those unaffiliated directors who voted on the transaction, have approved the transaction, as required in order to permit NAI to consent to the transaction under the terms of the 2018 settlement agreement entered into among CBS, NAI and certain other parties thereto.

The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions. It is expected to close by the 2019 calendar year end.

Sumner Redstone is the majority owner and chairman of the board of the National Amusements (NAI) theater chain. Through National Amusements, Redstone and his family are majority voting shareholders of CBS Corporation and Viacom (itself the parent company of Viacom Media Networks, BET Networks, and the film studio Paramount Pictures). Redstone was formerly the executive chairman of both CBS and Viacom. 

ANALYST COMMENTS

Bernstein

Bernstein analyst Todd Juenger downgraded CBS (CBS) to Underperform from Market Perform following the company’s confirmation earlier of a deal to combine in an all-stock merger with Viacom (VIAB). Any synergies produced “will pale in comparison” to inheriting Viacom’s structural problems, Juenger tells investors.

Imperial Capital

 Imperial Capital analyst David Miller lowered his price target for CBS (CBS) to $62 from $72. The analyst says that while this is generally consistent with where both names had been trading for the last 90 days, the ratio is below what he had been hoping for from the Viacom side, which was a ratio of 0.7. Nonetheless, Miller keeps an Outperform rating on shares of CBS.

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Wesco Aircraft sold for $1.9 billion

Wesco Aircraft to be acquired by Platinum Equity affiliate for $1.9B

Wesco Aircraft sold to Carlyle Group affiliate, Stockwinners

Wesco Aircraft Holdings (WAIR) announced that it has entered into a definitive merger agreement to be acquired by an affiliate of Platinum Equity in a transaction valued at approximately $1.9B.

Upon closing, Wesco will be combined with Platinum Equity portfolio company Pattonair, a provider of supply chain management services for the aerospace and defense industries based in the United Kingdom.

Under the agreement, which has been unanimously approved by Wesco’s Board of Directors, Wesco shareholders would receive $11.05 per share in cash.

The cash purchase price represents a premium of approximately 27.5 percent to the 90-day volume weighted average share price for the period ended May 24, 2019, the last trading day prior to media speculation regarding a potential transaction involving Wesco Aircraft.

Wesco’s three largest shareholders, affiliates of The Carlyle Group (CG) and Makaira Partners, as well as the Snyder Family Trusts, support the transaction and have entered into voting and support agreements to vote their shares in favor of the transaction.

CG to buy Wesco Aircraft, Stockwinners

The transaction will be financed through a combination of committed equity financing provided by affiliates of Platinum Equity Capital Partners IV, L.P., as well as debt financing that has been committed to by Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

The transaction is expected to be completed by the end of calendar 2019 and is subject to Wesco shareholder approval, regulatory clearances and other customary closing conditions.

Upon the completion of the transaction, Wesco will become a privately held company, and shares of its common stock no longer will be listed on any public market.

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Cambrex sold for $2.4 billion

Cambrex to be acquired by Permira Funds for $60.00 per share in cash, or $2.4B

Cambrex sold for $2.4 billion, Stockwinners

Cambrex (CBM) announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to be acquired by an affiliate of the Permira funds in a transaction valued at approximately $2.4B, including Cambrex’s net debt.

Under the terms of the merger agreement, Cambrex shareholders will receive $60.00 in cash for each share of Cambrex common stock, which represents a 47.1% premium to the August 6 closing stock price and a 37.3% premium to the 60-day volume weighted average closing price leading up to this announcement.

Completion of the transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including receipt of approval by Cambrex’s shareholders and customary regulatory approvals. Closing is expected to occur during the fourth quarter.

Permira goes shopping, Stockwinners

The transaction will be financed through a combination of debt and equity financing.

Cambrex Corporation provides various products and services for the development and commercialization of new and generic therapeutics worldwide. Its products comprise active pharmaceutical ingredients and pharmaceutical intermediates that are used in the production of prescription and over-the-counter drug products, as well as finished dosage forms.

The company serves generic drug companies; and companies that discover and commercialize small molecule human therapeutics. The company sells its products directly, as well as through independent agents. 

Cambrex announced that it will not hold a second quarter 2019 earnings conference call and will not update previously provided financial guidance given the pending acquisition.

The Permira investment team advises the Permira Funds. The investment team identifies long-term macro trends to back, across five key sectors including healthcare. Healthcare is one of the World’s largest industries, spanning hundreds of sub-sectors (e.g., from Biotechnology to Heavy Medical Equipment, from Hospitals to Veterinary medicine). It has the potential to create significant value for its customers through improving the human experience but its costs are also potentially limitless. The sector’s fundamental trends and complexity along with its scale generate attractive investment opportunities.

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Feds Cut Rates on All Instruments!

Federal Reserve cuts federal funds target rate by 25 basis points

The Federal Reserve said in today’s statement, “Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in June indicates that the labor market remains strong and that economic activity has been rising at a moderate rate. Job gains have been solid, on average, in recent months, and the unemployment rate has remained low.

Powell, FOMC Chair, Stockwinners
Fed Chief Powell. Stockwinners.com

Although growth of household spending has picked up from earlier in the year, growth of business fixed investment has been soft.

On a 12-month basis, overall inflation and inflation for items other than food and energy are running below 2 percent. Market-based measures of inflation compensation remain low; survey-based measures of longer-term inflation expectations are little changed. Consistent with its statutory mandate, the Committee seeks to foster maximum employment and price stability.

In light of the implications of global developments for the economic outlook as well as muted inflation pressures, the Committee decided to lower the target range for the federal funds rate to 2 to 2-1/4 percent. This action supports the Committee’s view that sustained expansion of economic activity, strong labor market conditions, and inflation near the Committee’s symmetric 2 percent objective are the most likely outcomes, but uncertainties about this outlook remain.

As the Committee contemplates the future path of the target range for the federal funds rate, it will continue to monitor the implications of incoming information for the economic outlook and will act as appropriate to sustain the expansion, with a strong labor market and inflation near its symmetric 2 percent objective.”

Long Term Rates

The Federal Reserve also said in today’s statement, “In determining the timing and size of future adjustments to the target range for the federal funds rate, the Committee will assess realized and expected economic conditions relative to its maximum employment objective and its symmetric 2 percent inflation objective.

This assessment will take into account a wide range of information, including measures of labor market conditions, indicators of inflation pressures and inflation expectations, and readings on financial and international developments. The Committee will conclude the reduction of its aggregate securities holdings in the System Open Market Account in August, two months earlier than previously indicated.”

Bernanke came up with “Quantitative Easing” in 2008, Stockwinners

If you have no idea what the above paragraph means, this may help. Back in 2008, Ben Bernanke, then the Fed Chair, came up with a clever idea! Since the rates at the time where near zero. He needed a way to lower the rates, he started buying long term government bonds. The added demand for bonds caused bond prices to rise thus pushing the rates lower. In the past few quarters, the Feds have been selling these bonds, pushing prices lower, thus higher long term rates. Today’s announcement basically says Feds are ending the bond sales two months earlier, long term rates (mortgage prices) will now go lower.

Powell Comments

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said the easing was to ensure against downside risks, as he begins his press conference.

He acknowledged the shift in the policy stance since December’s pivot. Fed has seen both positive and negative developments since the June meeting, including a stronger job market, but weaker manufacturing and disappointing foreign growth, while contacts continue to cite ongoing trade uncertainties are giving companies pause.

The Committee has gradually lowered the assessments of growth and that led to the easing today. On whether a 25 bp cut will prop up inflation, he noted one has to look at the Committee’s actions over the year as it’s moved to a more accommodative stance.

The Committee is thinking of today’s action as a mid-cycle adjustment to policy, designed to provide support for the economy, ensure against downside risks, and support inflation. Chair Powell continued to appeal to downside risks and below target inflation as the main threats to the favorable outlook.

He added, the Fed will monitor the evolution of trade uncertainty, which do seem to be having significant effect on the economy. He thinks trade is a new factor that the FOMC will have to assess “in a new way.”

The chair again said it’s not appropriate to just look at the quarter point easing, but rather the evolution of the Fed’s stance from tightening to easing, with the economy picking up since the end of 2018, which suggests monetary policy is working (though he declined to take full credit for the economy’s gains).

10-year yields fall, Stockwinners
Ten year yields approach 2.00 percent, Stockwinners

Market Action

The Fed repeated it will “monitor” incoming information and will “act as appropriate to sustain the expansion,” not really suggesting the path ahead. The long end of the Treasury market is leading the way with the benchmark 10-year 4.4 bps lower to test 2.00, versus 2.023% just ahead of the announcement. The 2-year is down 1.4 bps to 1.83% versus 1.81% earlier. Hence, the curve has flattened to 17 bps from around 20 bps previously.

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Exotic Metals sold for $1.725B

Parker-Hannifin to acquire Exotic Metals for $1.725B in cash

Exotic Metals sold to Parker Hannifin, Stockwinners

Parker Hannifin Corporation (PH) announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Exotic Metals Forming Company LLC for $1.725B in cash. When adjusted for approximately $170M of expected tax benefits, the net transaction value is approximately $1.56B.

Parker enters exotic metals business, Stockwinners

The transaction has been approved by the Board of Directors of each company and is subject to customary closing conditions, including receipt of applicable regulatory approvals.

Exotic Metals, headquartered in Kent, Washington, is a privately held company founded in 1966 that designs and manufactures innovative and technically demanding, high temperature, high pressure air and exhaust management solutions for aircraft and engines.

Exotic Metals has expected annual sales of approximately $450M and employs 1,600 team members across three locations in the United States.

Exotic Metals has long-term agreements in place across high growth aerospace programs.

Exotic Metals makes the exhaust cone for GE engines, Stockwinners

Parker also expects growth synergies through cross-selling opportunities and leveraging Parker’s strong aftermarket position.

Parker expects to realize approximately $13M in pre-tax run-rate synergies by fiscal year 2023 by combining supplier networks and implementing Win Strategy initiatives. The cumulative cost to achieve these synergies is expected to be approximately $5M.

The transaction is expected to be accretive to Parker’s organic growth, EBITDA margins, EPS and cash flow, after adjusting for one-time costs, and to achieve high single-digit ROIC in year five with continued expansion.

Upon the closing of this transaction, Parker plans to have Exotic Metals operate as a standalone division within Parker’s Aerospace Group, which is led by Roger Sherrard, Vice President and President Aerospace Group.

Exotic Metals manufactures the intake blades for GE engines, Stockwinners

Parker plans to finance the transaction using new debt.

Following the completion of the transaction, Parker expects to maintain a high investment grade credit profile.

The transaction is not expected to impact Parker’s dividend payout target of approximately 30-35% average percent of net income over a five-year period, while maintaining its record of annual dividend increases.

The transaction is expected to be completed within the next two to three months and is subject to customary closing conditions, including receipt of applicable regulatory approvals.

PH last traded at $172.46, down $2.45.

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Tesla crashes after latest report

Model Y to become available in the U.S. in Fall 2020

Model 3 to become available in China in Fall 2020

Tesla (TSLA) shares are sharply lower in Thursday’s trading after the electric car maker posted a loss that surprised investors.

Tesla (TSLA) reported a 2nd Quarter June 2019 loss of $1.12 per share on revenue of $6.3 billion. The consensus estimate was a loss of $0.52 per share on revenue of $6.4 billion. Revenue grew 58.7% on a year-over-year basis.

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Tesla shares tumble following its results, Stockwinners

The company said in it continues to expect positive GAAP earnings in the third quarter. The current consensus estimate is earnings of $0.27 per share for the quarter ending September 30, 2019. Tesla reported 95,356 vehicle deliveries in Q2 and production of 87,048 vehicles in Q2.

Tesla CEO says Model Y production ramp will be ‘significantly faster’ – Musk cites parts compatibility of the company’s existing models. 

Tesla CEO Elon Musk wrote in the company’s Q2 update letter, “This quarter, we are simplifying our approach to guidance. We are most focused on expanding our manufacturing footprint in new regions, launching new products and continuing to improve the customer experience, while generating and using cash sustainably. Local production and improved utilization of existing factories is essential to be cost competitive in each region.

Tesla Model 3 named Popular Mechanics' Car of the Year
Tesla Model 3 to become available in China, Stockwinners

We remain on track to launch local production of the Model 3 in China by the end of the year and Model Y in Fremont by fall of 2020. We are also accelerating our European Gigafactory efforts and are hoping to finalize a location choice in the coming quarters. We are working to increase our deliveries sequentially and annually, with some expected fluctuations from seasonality. This is consistent with our previous guidance of 360,000 to 400,000 vehicle deliveries this year. Additionally, we expect positive quarterly free cash flow, with possible temporary exceptions, particularly around the launch and ramp of new products. We believe our business has grown to the point of being self-funding. We continue to aim for positive GAAP net income in Q3 and the following quarters, although continuous volume growth, capacity expansion and cash generation will remain the main focus. Our 2019 capex is expected to be about $1.5B-$2.0B, a reduction from prior guidance. We continue to find opportunities to improve capital efficiency and shift cash outflows to future periods. This estimate includes the development of our main projects, on the timelines referenced, and to expand our Supercharger and service networks.”

TSLA shares are down $36.90 to $228.50

Model Y to become available Fall 2020, Stockwinners

ANALYSTS’ COMMENTS

Barclays

Neither revenues nor earnings were “anywhere near a record” in Tesla’s Q2 results, which “calls into question the growth story,” Barclays analyst Brian Johnson tells investors in a research note. The analyst believes Tesla’s loss in Q2 “should mark the top of the current ‘swing trade.'”

The results should temper bullish expectations for profit leverage, says Johnson, who reiterates an Underweight rating on the shares with a $150 price target.

Canaccord

Canaccord analyst Jed Dorsheimer lowered his price target on Tesla to $350 from $394 following Q2 results that were roughly inline with his expectations.

The analyst said its free cash flow suggests the company has a bit more time to grow into its profitability expectations. Dorsheimer maintained his Buy rating on Tesla shares.

Credit Suisse

Credit Suisse analyst Dan Levy notes that Tesla posted a Q2 EPS miss. Broadly, while Tesla has maintained its narrative, the analyst expects the stock to be under pressure near-term, as expectations had risen post the Q2 deliveries release earlier this month. Levy reiterates an Underperform rating and $189 price target on the shares as the Q2 results reminded him of the challenges ahead for Tesla in gross margin, especially as it relates to Models S/X. While Tesla has maintained its delivery guidance, he believes the company will be challenged to meet it given challenges to S/X volumes and the phase-out of the U.S. EV tax credit.

Model S interior, Stockwinners

Jefferies

Tesla last night reported a “challenging set of numbers,” although its pre-restructuring loss was in line with consensus estimates and its free cash flow better with a $600M operating inflow, Jefferies analyst Philippe Houchois tells investors in a research note titled “Q2 Challenging but Still Encouraging.”

Tesla’s vehicle gross margin improved but remains low for sustainable profitability at this stage, adds the analyst. Further, he believes e. JB Straubel moving to an advisory position adds to fears of “executive fatigue.” Houchois keeps a Buy rating on Tesla with a $300 price target.

JMP Securities

JMP Securities analyst Joseph Osha lowered his price target on Tesla to $337 after its Q2 results, saying the company’s revenue was “solid” but gross margins disappointed even in the absence of reduced regulatory credits.

The analyst adds that the output of 87K cars was below capacity, which is a positive because of “low utilization” of its Model S and X, but notes that the “fixed-cost asset under-absorption” suggests the company is struggling with reducing Model 3 costs as expected.

Morgan Stanley

Following Tesla’s analyst call, Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas shares his key thoughts, including his view that JB Straubel giving up the Chief Technical Officer role “may be the biggest news of the quarter.” It is unclear what motivated the 15-year veteran of the company to give up direct operational responsibility, but, “unfortunately, nobody asked this on the call,” Jonas said.

Elon Musk said that Q4 will be “very strong, but said the first and second quarters of 2020 will be “tough,” noted Jonas, who thinks investors should be ready for more quarter-to-quarter sales volatility heading into 2020. He keeps an Equal Weight rating and $230 price target on Tesla shares.

Model X sales slow down, Stockwinners

Needham

Needham analyst Rajvindra Gill kept his Underperform rating on Tesla after its “significant” loss reported in Q2 along with a “slight” increase in its margins hurt by average selling price reductions across all of its vehicle models. The analyst notes that while the company affirmed its FY19 delivery target and forecast profitability in Q4, he is cautious on that outlook as it would require a “significant snapback” in the second half of the year. Gill sees Tesla remaining challenged by “structurally low margins” and growing competition.

Nomura Instinet

Nomura Instinet analyst Christopher Eberle lowered his price target for Tesla to $270 from $300 following last night’s “mixed” Q2 results. Deliveries exceeded initial expectations meaningfully, but profitability metrics “underwhelmed,” Eberle tells investors in a post-earnings research titled “Spinning Its Wheels.”

The analyst doubts the quarter “will inspire enough confidence to get the stock working.” As such, he keeps a Neutral rating on Tesla.

Oppenheimer

Oppenheimer analyst Colin Rusch lowered his price target for Tesla to $356 from $437, noting that while automotive revenue and full company free cash flow beat expectations, full company revenue, gross margin and EPS results were below, driven partially by Model S/X ASP declines.

The analyst believes this dynamic will fuel bearish investors focused on limited demand for Tesla products, but believes bulls will focus on strong volumes, stable Model 3 ASP and better than expected cash flow as the company appears to be getting increasingly efficient with its spending. Rusch has an Outperform rating on the shares.

Piper Jaffray

Piper Jaffray analyst Alexander Potter reiterates an Overweight rating on Tesla following last night’s Q2 results while lowering his price target for the shares to $386 from $396.

Forward looking metrics related to revenue, such as orders and deliveries, are “all trending in the right direction – and that’s probably the most important thing,”

Potter tells investors in a research note. The post-market selloff was driven initially by mix-related concerns, and the resulting pressure on gross margin, but then Tesla’s Chief Technology Officer subsequently resigned on the earnings call, and the selling pressure intensified, explains Potter. He believes today’s pullback provides an entry point into Tesla shares.

Roth Capital

Roth Capital analyst Craig Irwin lowered his price target for Tesla to $224 form $238 after the company posted weak Q2 EPS, with automotive margins marking the lowest levels since Q1 of 2018. The analyst reiterates a Neutral rating on the shares.

Wedbush

Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives lowered his price target for Tesla to $220 from $230 to reflect a softer margin profile and pushed out profitability looking ahead. The analyst notes that the company delivered some bad news that will weigh on shares on Thursday as the company significantly missed the Street on the bottom line with “disappointing” gross margins that fundamentally call into question its ability to show sustainable profitability on the heels of lower margin Model 3 units going forward. Ives reiterates a Neutral rating on the shares.

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This article does not constitute investment advice. Each reader is encouraged to consult with his or her individual financial professional and any action a reader takes as a result of information presented here is his or her own responsibility.

Tenet to spin off its Conifer Health

Tenet concludes Conifer strategic review, to complete spin-off by end of 2Q21

Tenet Healthcare (THC) announced its intention to pursue a tax-free spin-off of its Conifer business as a separate, independent publicly traded company.

Tenet to spinoff Conifer Health in a tax free transaction, Stockwinners

The company expects to complete the spin-off by the end of the second quarter of 2021.

This announcement is the culmination of the Conifer strategic review process announced in December 2017.

Ronald A. Rittenmeyer, Executive Chairman and CEO, said, “After an extensive review of Conifer’s strategic alternatives, in which we evaluated multiple options for the business while simultaneously driving significant and sustainable improvements in performance, we are pleased to announce plans to spin off Conifer into a separate, publicly traded company.

This decision supports our longstanding objectives to maximize the value of Conifer, build on its strong growth potential and deliver the best outcome for Conifer and for Tenet shareholders.” Rittenmeyer continued, “Conifer has unmatched experience and scale in offering revenue cycle management solutions for healthcare providers and a proven track record of delivering high-touch, high-value services to clients.

Tenet to spin off Conifer Health, Stockwinners

Pursuing a tax-free spin-off is an important step forward in Conifer’s evolution, and we believe the business is well-positioned to capitalize on its growth opportunities as a standalone company.”

Rittenmeyer added, “We were pleased with Tenet’s performance in the second quarter, with Adjusted EBITDA comfortably within our Outlook range and consistent with consensus estimates.

Volume growth strengthened in our hospital business, with increases in both admissions and adjusted admissions. USPI also delivered favorable volume growth and Conifer had another strong quarter.

We remain excited about the future of our healthcare services offerings at our 65 hospitals and approximately 500 outpatient centers which will remain part of the Tenet enterprise.”

The separation process will include a thorough review of the necessary executive leadership changes, Board membership needs and key commercial milestones that Conifer must achieve in order to provide the optimal governance structures and business foundations for a successful public company.

Specific details about these actions and milestones will be made available in due course.

Among other things, the spin-off will be subject to finalization of the entity structure of the spun-off business, assurance that the separation will be tax-free to Tenet’s shareholders for U.S. federal income tax purposes, executing a restructured services agreement between Conifer and Tenet, finalization of Conifer’s capital structure, the effectiveness of appropriate filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, final approval from the Tenet Board of Directors, and other customary conditions.

The spin-off will not require a vote by Tenet shareholders and is supported by Common Spirit which owns a minority interest in Conifer Health Solutions, LLC.

The transaction is being targeted for completion by the end of the second quarter of 2021, but there can be no assurance regarding the timeframe for completing the spin-off, the allocation of assets and liabilities between Tenet and Conifer, or that the spin-off will be completed at all.

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Vail Resorts buys Peak Resorts for $11.00 per share

The deal is valued about $170 million

Peak Resorts (SKIS) announced that it has entered into a definitive merger agreement with Vail Resorts, Inc. (MTN) pursuant to which Vail Resorts will acquire all outstanding shares of common stock of Peak Resorts for $11.00 per share in cash.

Vail Resorts to buy Peak Resorts, Stockwinners

The transaction represents a 116% premium to Peak Resorts’ closing stock price on July 19, 2019.

The transaction is expected to close in fall 2019 and is subject to certain conditions, including a vote of Peak Resorts shareholders and antitrust clearance.

Vail Resorts buys Peak Resorts, shares jump. Stockwinners

The transaction was approved by the Boards of Directors of both companies. Peak Resorts’ Board of Directors also recommends that the Company’s shareholders approve the transaction.

Moelis & Company LLC is serving as financial advisor to Peak Resorts. Perkins Coie LLP, Sandberg Phoenix & von Gontard P.C. and Armstrong Teasdale LLP are serving as legal counsel to Peak Resorts.

About the Companies

Peak Resorts, Inc. owns, operates, and leases day and overnight drive ski resorts in the United States. Its resorts activities and amenities include skiing, snowboarding, terrain parks, tubing, dining, lodging, equipment rentals and sales, ski and snowboard instruction, golf, zip lines, mountain coasters, mountain biking, hiking, paint ball, and other summer activities. It operates 17 ski resorts primarily located in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Midwest.

Vail Resorts has been on a shopping spree, Stockwinners

Vail Resorts, Inc. operates mountain resorts and urban ski areas in the United States. The company operates through three segments: Mountain, Lodging, and Real Estate. The Mountain segment operates 11 mountain resorts, including Vail Mountain, Breckenridge Ski, Keystone, and Beaver Creek resorts in Colorado; Park City resort in Utah; Heavenly Mountain, Northstar, and Kirkwood Mountain resorts in the Lake Tahoe area of California and Nevada; Whistler Blackcomb in Canada; Stowe Mountain resort in Vermont; and Perisher in Australia, as well as 3 urban ski areas, such as Wilmot Mountain in Wisconsin, Afton Alps in Minnesota, and Mount Brighton in Michigan.

Vail Resorts expands its footprint by purchasing Peak Resorts, Stockwinners

Its resorts offer various winter and summer recreational activities. The Lodging segment owns and/or manages various luxury hotels and condominiums under the RockResorts brand, and other lodging properties; various condominiums located in proximity to the company’s mountain resorts; destination resorts; and golf courses, as well as offers resort ground transportation services. This segment operates approximately 5,400 owned and managed hotel and condominium units.

The Real Estate segment owns, develops, and sells real estate properties in and around the company’s resort communities. 

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This article does not constitute investment advice. Each reader is encouraged to consult with his or her individual financial professional and any action a reader takes as a result of information presented here is his or her own responsibility.

Carrizo Oil & Gas sold for $3.2 billion

Callon Petroleum to acquire Carrizo Oil & Gas in all-stock deal valued at $3.2B

Carrizo sold for $3.2 billion, Stockwinners

Callon Petroleum (CPE) and Carrizo Oil & Gas (CRZO) announced that their Boards of Directors have unanimously approved a definitive agreement under which Callon will acquire Carrizo in an all-stock transaction valued at $3.2B.

This highly complementary combination will create a leading oil and gas company with scaled development operations across a portfolio of core oil-weighted assets in both the Permian Basin and Eagle Ford Shale.

Callon Petroleum buys Carrizo for $3.2B, Stockwinners

Under the terms of the agreement, Carrizo shareholders will receive a fixed exchange ratio of 2.05 Callon shares for each share of Carrizo common stock they own.

This represents $13.12 per Carrizo share based on Callon’s closing common stock price on July 12 and a premium of 18% to Carrizo’s trailing 60-day volume weighted average price.

Following the close of the transaction, Callon shareholders will own approximately 54% of the combined company, and Carrizo shareholders will own approximately 46%, on a fully diluted basis.

The all-stock transaction is intended to be tax-free to Carrizo shareholders.

The transaction has been unanimously approved by the Boards of Directors at both Callon and Carrizo.

In addition, each of the Carrizo directors has committed to vote his or her shares in favor of the transaction.

Upon closing, the Board of Directors of the combined company will consist of 11 members, including Callon’s eight current Board members and three to be appointed from the Board of Carrizo.

The combined company will be led by Callon’s executive management team and will remain headquartered in Houston, Texas.

The transaction, which is expected to close during the fourth quarter, is subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals, including the approval of shareholders of both companies.

STOCKWINNERS

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This article does not constitute investment advice. Each reader is encouraged to consult with his or her individual financial professional and any action a reader takes as a result of information presented here is his or her own responsibility.